Every human on this big ball of mud is broken in some way or another with the only solution being the cleansing blood of Jesus.
Take a look at the book of Nehemiah and see if you can see yourself in the story? A little background, Nehemiah was the cupbearer for Artaxerxes the King. Artaxerxes became king after his father Xerxes I was murdered by his own royal bodyguard! That part isn’t relatable, but, this part will be; the position of cupbearer “Rebshaken” offered authority coupled with very real danger. Our lives are not really all that different as we all have responsibilities that greatly affect the lives of others.
Jerusalem had been ravaged by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC and destroyed the Temple, burned the city gates and crushed many of the walls. The city was constantly being used by a remnant of God’s chosen people as well as many undesirables, nomads and scavengers. In 538 Cyrus the Great had allowed the Temple to be rebuilt but by 520 only the foundation was laid. The people had become apathetic to the task of reclaiming the land. This is the land that God had promised to the descendants of Abraham, this was where God wanted to build a mighty nation. That nation had disobeyed God and as such they were in captivity and under the rule of Artaxerxes after he had defeated Nebuchadnezzar.
You can look back at the book of Ezra and see where a group had gone back to Jerusalem around 535 BC, yet even with that the work was not getting done. We really do not know if Nehemiah had regular reports coming to him but I am guessing he did not as we can see how greatly the news affected him once he had received it. The whole story screams of God and His mercy for broken men and His desire to set us on a path for righteousness. God supplied the needs for the trip and the openness of Artaxerxes heart to allow Nehemiah to leave even at his own personal risk.
While in Bible study this week we discovered a unique story within the story of Nehemiah concerning the gates of the city:
The Sheep Gate: This is the gate where all the animals for the sacrifice entered the city, let it represent Jesus Christ as he is the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. The perfect and spotless Lamb of God.
The Fish Gate: this is where the fishermen would bring in the daily catch for the markets, Jesus commissioned His disciples to be fishers of men and deliver the message of redemption to a lost and dying world.
The Old Gate: this is the entrance to the oldest part of the city, in recognition of your old lifestyle and the need for Jesus and his salvation through the cross.
The Valley Gate: this is the entrance from the valley where many opposing nations would mount their attacks, it can represent the trials and tribulations of life that bring us to the point of acknowledging those habits and hang-ups we allow to separate us from God.
The Dung Gate: This is where the people of the city brought all their trash to be burnt. Where we can bring all the trash of our lives and discard it in the lap of God.
The Fountain Gate: this is where a constant flow of fresh water entered the city, Jesus said to the woman at the well “If you knew who it was that ask you for a drink you would have ask Him for living waters”. This where you receive Jesus as a personal Savior and your source of Living Waters!
The Water Gate: this gate was within the city and not accessible from the outside, it allowed access to the fresh water for the people of the city, symbolic for the baptism of the repentant soul. Putting your faith on public notice for the world to see.
The Horse Gate: in those days horses were used only for war, donkeys and camels were the work animals. This is where we prepare for the spiritual battle through the word of God.
The East Gate: the Bible tells us Jesus will return in the Eastern sky when He comes to gather together His people.
The Inspection Gate: this where visitors to the city would be screened for disease and cleanliness, a symbol of the Throne of God in which Jesus intercedes for us.
You may see men feeling as though they have nothing protecting them, their walls are crumbling and their gates are burnt. They have no way of rebuilding the relationships of friends and family, but, this is simply not the case. God can and will find a way for you, through Jesus, to rebuild the safety and serenity of your life.
Like Nehemiah, He will orchestrate the needed manpower, tools, and supplies, even if it is not done in a timeline that we expect. He will use people that we may be fearful of contacting and some will even rebel and cause an uprising, yet in His time and through His plan the city (your life) will again be a city of hope and a refuge for the weary.
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